Our Ladies (2019)
IMDb rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%
Let’s just come out and say it: Our Ladies is a pure delight. Well, perhaps purity isn’t the best word for it…
The story is of five Scottish convent schoolgirl friends who are members of a choir that is travelling from their Highland town of Fort William to Edinburgh to take part in a competition. As much as the sister in charge would like to think they’ll comport themselves as “ladies”, the opposite is true. This lot is horny, raucous and rebellious, and they relish their few hours of unsupervised freedom in the big city, drinking, smoking, singing karaoke, shopping and snogging.
The lead cast of unknowns is superb. There’s Orla (Tallulah Grieve, who narrates), who has undergone treatment for leukaemia and has some rather unconventional requirements for her deflowering. Finnoula (Abigail Lawrie) is the ring leader, who reveals a compassionate side as well as some sexual awakenings of her own. Chell (Rona Morison) is boy-obsessed, and fiercely wild while dealing with the loss of her father and her family background. Kylah (Marli Siu), brash, sassy and confident, sings in a band of her own; and Manda (Sally Messham) is the joker of the pack, the all-round good time gal, no shame, no limits.
Their ambitions are, for the most part, modest: get a job with staff discounts, get a guy, get pregnant, get a house – not necessarily in that order. Finnoula is thinking a bit bigger though, which is why she is drawn to goody-two-shoes on-her-way-to-university head girl Kay (Eve Austin), who is harbouring more than one secret. Our Ladies delicately and precisely walks the line between comedy and drama, gut-wrenchingly poignant and laugh out loud funny.
It’s only now after watching it I have learned David Hasselhoff has a cameo. It’s a delicious Easter egg that I missed so now I have to go back and watch it again. Funnily enough, I don’t mind doing that one bit.
Our Ladies’ release has been delayed on account of Covid, but it premiered at the 2019 BFI London Film Festival, and received solid rave reviews from critics, who have called it “a raucous tale of love, life and true friendship”.
“Comparisons to Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls are inevitable, and justified – the era, the small town setting, the strong Celtic accents and the group of brilliantly drawn female characters are just some of the standout elements the two works have in common,” The Film Magazine correctly points out.
The review concludes: “Our Ladies is a wildly entertaining riot of a movie. It’s one of those films you wish you’d had back when you were a teenager with a whole lot of feelings and no idea what to do with them. It’s one of those films where you feel the end approaching, but wish it would wait. You wish you could pull an all-nighter with these characters, just like they do, if only to stay in their company a little longer.”
The Hollywood News echoes the sentiment: “It’s the kind of film that makes you want to round up your friends, grab a pint and go experience this together. And you should. It’s one hell of a great time.”
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